Text description provided by the architects. Drawing inspiration from the history of the 26,000-GSF Hughes Plumbing Warehouse, this adaptive reuse project extends its scope beyond that of a traditional renovation.
Focused on supporting the revitalization efforts of downtown San Antonio, Overland Partners set out with the goal of transforming a 1918 warehouse into an innovative but functional studio space; in turn the firm was equally and unexpectedly transformed by the building.
Collaborative areas integrated into the preexisting structural grid and daylit by clerestories serve as the primary organizational component around which the ground floor studio is arranged. This spatial organization inspires creative collaboration and communication between employees while also facilitating project reviews, client meetings, design charrettes, visiting student critiques, and weekly office-wide lunches.
A series of enclosed meeting rooms are strategically located throughout the studio, providing privacy and areas for more focused collaboration. These rooms are clad in raw sheet steel and reclaimed teak, which allude to the industrial past of the building yet are detailed with a refinement that attests to the sophistication and craft of the firm.
A newly inserted courtyard unfolds beyond the existing brick façade, creating an unexpected public space that opens the building to the street and allows access to adjacent tenant spaces. The courtyard provides natural light and ventilation while expanding the entry sequence from the compressed industrial street edge, which is located along a former railroad corridor.
The existing loading dock openings were fitted with custom perforated steel gates to provide cohesion with the arts and design district that is grounded by the neighboring San Antonio Museum of Art. Referencing the building’s graffitied past, the pattern was generated from a highly pixelated version of Jackson Pollock’s painting Number 14, 1948.
The project integrates modern systems—including lighting, daylight and motion sensors, a 65 kW photovoltaic solar array, and efficient mechanical systems—while preserving the historic integrity of the building. Concrete salvaged from the building was reused as pavers in the alley, transforming a neglected zone into a functional and refreshing outdoor meeting space.
The Workshop provides a dedicated space for model and mock-up building as well as materials research and fabrication.
Glass and steel components, such as punched windows and a window wall overlooking the courtyard, were integrated into the existing longleaf pine and brick structure, allowing natural light to infiltrate the warehouse space.
The renovation of the warehouse along the banks of the San Antonio River in the burgeoning River North district of downtown San Antonio has transformed not only a building but an organizational culture and neighborhood, supporting the firm in their mission to influence and transform the world through the practice of architecture.